The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Samuel Atta Akyea, has called for more investment to be made in providing solutions to the current problems confronting the country’s drainage system.
In his view, the government must focus on spending on fixing the country’s drains just like it focuses on investing in other sectors of the economy.
Mr Atta Akyea was speaking to the parliamentary press corps on Thursday, 8 October 2020.
He bemoaned the country’s continuous expenditure on desilting drains to avoid flooding.
“If you pay with regard to this so-called desilting and concrete lining, it’s like a yearly ritual. A nation that we don’t have good money, we do rituals. Every year, they give you coins to go and do drainage system, so, our view, which we’re pushing strongly, is that we should be aggressive about what matters to us. We don’t have enough money to be doing rituals.
“If you entered into any good environment, there’s what we call subterranean drains, where every filth is underground. That undertaking is expensive”, he noted.
“Are you saying that because of my poverty levels, I’m never going to go subterranean [drains] so you avoid diseases and our bad habits of tipping filth into it gutters? Open gutters are not good for any environment because whatever it is, somebody from his home will dump rubbish there but the cost is expensive. What are you going to do about it?” the Works and Housing Minister stated.
He further emphasised that just like any other sector of the economy, the country’s drainage system needs to be given attention to ensure development.
The Minister said: “You treasure the fact that cocoa matters to the economy, that’s why you go for the cocoa bond. Every year, you do that; why don’t you also say that it is important to tackle drainage? Nkrumah’s drainage system, some of them we’ve not even improved upon it. So, you go and raise good money and you tackle drainage gingerly, gingerly.
“If it’s NPP, I’ll recommend we do it, if it’s NDC, I’ll recommend we do it. So that this nation will move from the situation in which we’re almost lamenting”, he added.
The Minister also disclosed that he had forwarded his dream for the drainage system in Ghana to Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta for consideration, so that all governments can use it.
“So, NDC, too, can also use it if and when they’re in power and then we’re better of with it and then drainage does not wear any political powers, let’s think Ghana”, he noted.
Espousing his views on what the government should be doing to solve problems bedeviling the country’s drainage system, the Minister proposed that more investment is made into that sector to provide a long-term solution rather than on the short-term which is more expensive to the state.
“Do you know how much it’s going to cost us to solve the Odaw challenges and the other related matters? USD 200,000,000, sure. But if you say you don’t want to spend where it matters, then you come and say: ‘Today, there are floods and people are complaining about it’, and then the FMs are on us, there’re floods are you ready to spend, if you’re not ready to spend then keep quiet because any time you’re drumming too much on problems, then you don’t understand the issues properly.
“So, if you want to be aggressive about the future, let’s spend where it matters. In the long run, it’s cheaper than we think, you don’t have money but you keep going all the time for this desilting filth, a poor man should not do that. You should rather have something quality.”